Wondering what the top 10 things to do in Toronto are? Got your passports or enhanced driver’s license? Ready to take on the road? Well, if you’re planning to go somewhere new, why not give Toronto a try? Affectionately called TO by locals in southern Ontario, this city is one place to definitely put on your bucket list. Here are the top 10 things to do in Toronto, whether you’re in town for the first time or the tenth time.
Table of contents:
- cn tower
- art gallery of ontario
- royal ontario museum
- st. lawrence market
- distillery district
- casa loma
- eaton centre
- black creek pioneer village
- toronto islands
- open air bus tours
1 CN Tower
The CN Tower is definitely one of the top 10 things to do in Toronto. Looking to take the best shots of the city and get a safe thrill? CN Tower is a looming 1,815 feet or 553.3 meters tall. Whether you come up for the view, to eat at the rotating restaurant with one of the best views in the world, or to participate in the adrenaline pumping Edge Walk, your money will be well spent. On the Edge Walk, you are 350 meters off the ground and it’s just you and a tether outside on a circular path around the tower.
So let’s break it down and see how much each costs. Remember all prices are in Canadian dollars. To get into the CN Tower is $26 for children ages 4 to 12, $36 for adults ages 13 to 64, and seniors are $31 for the elevator ride. The Edge Walk is available for those ages thirteen and older and the set price is $225.
360, named for rotating 360 degrees, is CN Tower’s restaurant, and is one of the most famous places to dine in the world. Reservations are needed. All food and wine are from Canada. Lunch prices range from $58 to $95 plus tax. Coffees range from $3.50 to $9.85. Dinner is the same menu but the starting price rises to $65.
Seafood platters for a group of people can be ordered, and they range from $65 to $395 (the $395 is for a very large group, for example, if you were with a big law firm looking to dine in the city).
If you have any allergies tell them when you book the reservation and always bring an EpiPen.
2 Art Gallery of Ontario
AGO, located in TO (as the locals say) is home to 90,000 works of art. The AGO is an all-day trip, so feel free to eat in the art gallery at their bistro or café. Exhibitions are up for a period of time, so be sure to check ago.net to know what’s up now and what will be up in the coming year. Collections are up all of the time and are the foundation of the gallery. These include African and Oceanic art, European art, Canadian art, modern and contemporary, photography, the Thomas Collection (more European art), prints and drawings, local artist David Milne, and more. Prices range depending on what you want to do. Workshops are available for children and adults.
3 Royal Ontario Museum
The ROM located at 100 Queens Park in Toronto is the city's number one museum. For decades the ROM has awed people from around the world, especially when Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s gold mask and funerary goods were on display. Currently, the most popular exhibition is the Viking exhibition, which runs until April 2, 2018. Learn about the Vikings’ settlement in Newfoundland and Labrador, see their horde, and learn about life of the Vikings and Norse people.
Fashionistas will love how Christian Dior’s life and work is on display until March 18, 2018. See how Dior helped to revolutionize Parisian couture (and so did Coco Chanel).
There are also permanent galleries and collections ranging from Canadian history to fossils and evolution to ancient cultures and more. The diversity of learning and diversity of attractions here will leave you learning for days. Pace yourself. It’s impossible to see everything in the ROM at one time or even if you went for a week.
The ROM is also heavily involved in conservation work. The museum is a work of architectural beauty, as is the Art Gallery of Ontario. The ROM is open 10 am to 5:30 pm every day but Christmas Day. Prices are subject to change so look up pricing at rom.on.ca and be sure to pay in Canadian money if you’re paying there. For the Vikings and Dior exhibitions, you must pre-order tickets.
4 St. Lawrence Market
Every weekend St. Lawrence Market comes alive with vendors selling food, farmers’ produce, jewelry, and much more from over one hundred twenty vendors. This is a huge place. There are three sections - South market, North market, and St. Lawrence Hall. The South market is where you can find the food. Take a peek upstairs while you’re over there to see some culturally diverse artwork.
The North market is where farmers set up shop every Saturday as they have been doing since 1803. Every Sunday antique dealers arrive. The space is also rented out for all sorts of exhibitions.
The St. Lawrence Hall, constructed in 1850, has shops on the bottom floor, offices on the second floor, and beautiful, spacious rooms on the third floor for weddings.
5 Distillery District
Located along Mill St. and Cherry St. near the St. Lawrence Market, the Distillery District is a fun, car-free dining, shopping, and event center since 1832. As the name suggests, this is where to taste various wines and brews. Walk around and see which restaurant you want to try. There is fusion cuisine, French food, and sushi, or perhaps you just want a hearty sandwich. Looking for a sweet treat? Try Greg’s Ice Cream of The Sweet Escape Pâtisserie.
Ready to shop? The Distillery District offers upscale boutiques, candles, artisan cheeses, fashion accessories, and more. For the artist in you, check out Distill Gallery. Here artists create ceramics, jewelry, women’s fashion, coffee mugs and more made locally.
Many come not for the food or artsy items, but for the events, live bands and live plays.
This is also where painters, mixed media artists, and sculptors can show off their artwork.
6 Casa Loma
Did you know Toronto has a castle? Constructed from 1911 to 1914 for a man’s wife, Major General Sir Henry Pellatt’s castle is the ultimate in imported European luxury. This is a tour you don’t want to miss. The tour will take you through countless jaw-droppingly gorgeous rooms, carriage houses, horse stables, and a ridiculously long tunnel. The Pellatts’ raised one child in the house and then fell into financial disaster. They even had their own stage theatre, which you will see on the tour. Check out casaloma.com for ticket pricing. Please be advised, there is a steep climb up to the entrance and is not physically disabled friendly.
7 Eaton Centre
This is Canada’s biggest shopping mall, which also includes stores and restaurants underground. In the summer there is a splash pad right outside for the kids. In the winter, this is the place to be to escape the brutally freezing temperatures outside.
8 Black Creek Pioneer Village
It’s as if you have stepped out of Doctor Who’s Tardis and into the early 1800s. Black Creek Pioneer Village is the Williamsburg of Canada. Plenty of heritage buildings and gardens to explore, and museums on the lives of Canadians, immigrants, and slaves in America coming to Ontario for freedom. Speak with period style actors and workers about life in the nineteenth century. This is a great place for homeschooled kids because Black Creek Pioneer Village will tailor a day of hands-on learning for them. Animal lovers will enjoy visiting their farms where you can hug goats and bunnies. The farm is open all summer, and on the weekends in the spring and early fall. Open from April 29th to December 23rd. Adults (15-59) are $15 Canadian.
9 Toronto Islands
Located on Lake Ontario, the Toronto Islands are small islands right off the coast of the city. Dock your boat or take the ferry. The Island, as locals call them, are home to cycling paths, restaurants, gardens, beaches, and beautifully preserved nature.
10 Open Air Bus Tours
When visiting TO, start with an open air bus tour. Any of them are excellent and one is semi-aquatic and will take you into Lake Ontario. Get a nice, cool breeze and really see the city by riding on the roof of one of these double-decker buses. Your ticket is good all day so you can hop on and hop off at any stop that interests you, or you can stay on for the entire three hours to get some excellent shots of the city.
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